Light from electron levels, but radio from AC?

In summary, the conversation discusses the generation of light and the transmission of radio waves through the production of alternating current. It also explores the possibility of producing different types of light, such as sawtooth, triangle, and square, through this method. There is a question about the feasibility of producing an alternating current with a frequency of 600THz and the potential difficulties in doing so. The topic of atomic transitions and the 1420 MHz line is also brought up, along with its use in SETI searches. The conversation ends with a question about the maximum energy of photons produced through alternating current.
  • #1
I know that light (such as that emitted by a fluorescent bulb) is generated by electrons falling into lower energy states and releasing an amount of energy as a photon. But radio is transmitted by producing an alternating current in a conductor, and (I assume) it's the acceleration and deceleration of this electric charge which creates the changing electromagnetic field which propagates away from the source.

Can light be produced in the same way? Is it feasible to produce an alternating current in the order of 600THz? If so, could we produce things like sawtooth, triangle and square light rather than the usual sinusoidal?

I have a feeling there's some 'springyness' to electron interaction and it would be difficult to produce a frequency of 600THz in any conductor larger than about 500nm, but I'd like to hear some thoughts on it.

Similarly, do any atoms contain such close-together energy levels that an electron might produce something in the order of kHz or MHz when it falls to a lower energy level, or do all radio waves have to come from some kind of alternating current?
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  • #2
The atomic hydrogen line known as the 21 cm line or the 1420 MHz line is observed in intersteller hydrogen gas. It is hyperfine structure of electrons in the 1s state, and can be both emitted and absorbed by the hydrogen gas. The 1420 MHz line is one of the most popular lines used in the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) search. This frequency can be generated by both atomic transitions (masers) and by microwave oscillators. It is roughly 60% the frequency in microwave ovens. See
  • #3
Aha, OK, so you can get some pretty low energy photons coming out of atoms, but what about high energy photons out of alternating current? Is there some maximum cut-off there too?

What is light from electron levels?

Light from electron levels refers to the process of light emission by an electron. When an electron moves from a higher energy level to a lower energy level, it releases energy in the form of light.

What is radio from AC?

Radio from AC refers to the process of radio wave emission from alternating current (AC) electricity. When AC electricity flows through a conductor, it creates an alternating magnetic field which in turn generates electromagnetic waves, including radio waves.

How do light from electron levels and radio from AC differ?

The main difference between light from electron levels and radio from AC is the source of energy and the type of waves produced. Light from electron levels is generated by the movement of electrons between energy levels in an atom, while radio from AC is generated by the flow of AC electricity through a conductor.

What are some practical applications of light from electron levels and radio from AC?

Light from electron levels is essential for many technologies, including lighting, lasers, and solar cells. On the other hand, radio from AC is used in various communication systems, such as radio broadcasting, cell phones, and Wi-Fi networks.

Can light from electron levels and radio from AC coexist?

Yes, light from electron levels and radio from AC can coexist. In fact, they are both forms of electromagnetic radiation and can travel through the same medium. However, they have different frequencies and wavelengths, making them distinguishable from each other.

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